Seth Rogen makes cartoons blue with “Sausage Party. It’s an idea he had a decade ago: Make a traditional-looking animated film, then cover it in trash-mouthed potty humor. And now we have this R-rated toon, in which the star, 34, who also co-wrote, voices a talking hot dog living in a supermarket. He and his cohorts — including his love interest, a bun voiced by Kristen Wiig, as well as Jonah Hill and Michael Cera as sausages — realize the grim news of what happens after they leave the store. Along the way they make a lot of double entendres about meat.
What were some of your influences? Any particular animated movies or TV shows you were thinking of?
Well, I’m a huge fan of “South Park,” which was a big influence on us for this movie. We’re also huge fans of the Pixar movies. “Toy Story,” “A Bug’s Life,” “Finding Nemo” – all of them. Those were two of our largest benchmarks when it came to animation, and they’re not very similar. But I think that was the line we were trying to walk.
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Yes, that combination of the subversive and the innocent.
And since there haven’t been many adult animated movies we thought one thing that might make it more digestible — no pun intended — was to present it like how you’re used to seeing an animated movie and give it the texture and skin of a Pixar movie, basically. We started like that and then peeled back the layers of weirdness, taking the viewer down the rabbit hole.
There are so many quick little jokes in the animation, like the hot dog package listing 16,000 calories.
There are so many. I’ve seen the movie probably 75 to 100 times and every time I notice new things the animators did. As funny a script as I hope we wrote, they made it a thousand times funnier.
Your character, Frank, somehow even seems to have your expression.
Yeah, the animators filmed every actor during the recording sessions and really tried to animate their expressions as they were doing it. The animators were like, “Oh, wherever possible we animated it exactly how the actors performed it… with their face.” The hot dog me was a better actor than the real me!
What was the process of going from an idea to the screen like?
It was a really slow process. It took years just to go from talking about it to writing the screenplay. An idea this strange takes a long time to wrap your head around. It was a similar writing process to “This is the End,” actually. It was mostly while we were filming the movie “50/50” in 2009 or 2010 that we wrote the first draft. And then it was two years after that we actually sold it. All that and the animation process, it was glacial.
Which food in the movie would you most want to eat?
Well, the meanest character in the movie is the douche, but he’s not a food. But maybe I’d eat him because of that.
That’s very benevolent of you! So how did it feel doing voiceover work again?
It’s really fun, because it’s all about you. It’s just a person and a microphone. It really frees you of the bullshit that goes around acting sometimes.